Exercise for some people has always been viewed as taxing, boring and un-enjoyable. What if I told you that it CAN be fun?
There is a lot of emerging research to show low intensity physical activity is actually better for your health, in terms of longevity, than trying to perform long duration high intensity exercise. Low intensity exercise such as nomadic walking or easy cycling can increase your life span. Where as high intensity long duration exercise like running may put to much pressure on the heart and wear out you out sooner.
For the sports enthusiasts like myself this news comes as a rude surprise as endurance high intensity activity is exactly what I am currently into. Putting that aside, this is not a post for the sports enthusiasts, this is to entice the average punter to get out and move! Maybe even burn off some Easter eggs from the weekend?
For the average Joe or Jane, this is actually good news, particularly if you don’t like exercising. Instead of trying to run marathons or take up gruelling cross fit sessions you can do something lighter, easier and some what enjoyable.
So here it goes, a list of my favourite low intensity sporting ideas, and why you should try them. Trust me on this one, I never recommend anything I haven’t done myself, these exercise ideas are a lot of fun.
Have you ever tried indoor rock climbing? It’s a great all round work out. I always thought indoor rock climbing is just one of those activities you do once in a while on the weekend or at a children’s party. Little did I know that there are climbing groups and competitions you can join when you advance your climbing skills.
As a beginner you will find, that it strengthens and tones upper body muscles, including shoulders, back and arms. Once you build up into more advanced skills of rock climbing, you will learn to use your legs to propel yourself up the wall using footholds. This will help to strengthen and tone the legs. It’s defiantly more fun than doing squats at the gym!
If you can maintain a good solid rock climb session for 30-45min total time being on the wall, it could replace your cardio and strength routine. So many muscles are activated once you start climbing it acts as a strength circuit, which provides both aerobic and strength fitness.
As a beginner you may have to supplement some cardio into climbing regime to start with 30min cross trainer or stepper to get the calorie burn. Only till you get better at climbing, can ditch the gym machines all together.
Next Up Trampolining
Trampoling is actually a spin off sport from gymnastics. It is a cardio based sport, with not much resistance training. The moves are aerial based which means the sport is more about technique and body proprioception in space. As a beginner, you will need to continue doing your regular gym routine, both strength and cardio, because you won’t get enough time on the tramp. Typically a beginner, may try a few jumps of different moves with a coach, hop off and wait for your turn in line again. In a 1 hr session you may get 15-20min alone on the tramp in intervals due to other team members waiting for their turn.
However when you become advanced and get one on one coaching, where you can perform an entire aerial routine. You can replace your cardio workout with trampolining. The routines provide a great distraction to the difficulty of the exercise, so you don’t even realise your working out.
Unfortunately as there is limited strength involvement in the sport, and the requirements to have a strong core to produce good routines on the tramp. It is still recommended you do a full body strength training routine at least 2-3x week. A program that includes a body weighted routine such as squats, chin ups, push ups, tricep dips, plank work and sit ups is all you need to supplement with, which you can do at home.
Samba Brazilian Dance
This is a very sexy dance, which is very good for women to build confidence about their body. The dance moves can be very cardio taxing and complex. It would be similar to doing a moderate to low impact cardio workout. Classes usually have you moving for a good 60min if not longer, so it’s great to replace your gym cardio workout. You will even get a toned tummy and legs, a lot of the advanced moves involve abdomen isolation and controlled contractions to create body rolls and pop squats to the floor in high heels. Your thighs, butt and calves will shape up quickly!
Fit Pole Dance
This form of dance is awesome for everyone, beginners and advanced. Classes are designed to keep you moving, most of the time you have your own pole. Dance moves typically in corporate the full body in both a cardio and strength manner. The pole climbs / grabbing the pole and swinging all use phenomenal amounts of upper body strength using muscles such as bicep, tricep, shoulders, chest, back and core abdominals.
Leg exercises are taken care of too, via the groundwork with the dance element of pole dancing eg squatting next to the pole, body rolling on to the ground and using the legs to climb the pole. Pole dancing can replace both your strength and cardio workout from the onset. It builds confidence and is a place where you can make a lot of really close friends in a small intimate environment.
There are loads of other exercise or sports you can try; ballroom dance, drama classes, hoop work shops, tai chi, nude yoga and canyoning, can you think of any more?
Remember exercise is easy to stick to if you enjoy what your doing, then its not exercise any more, it’s just fun!